A customer recently asked us about whether they were able to use Salesforce Marketing Cloud in a HIPAA compliant manner.
We know the HIPAA industry is vast so we can empathize with just how many people need to use cloud services in this sector.
Today, we will determine if Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers HIPAA compliant service or not.
Today we will determine if Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers HIPAA compliant email for marketing or not.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a provider of digital marketing automation and analytics software. It was founded in 2000 under the name ExactTarget.
ExactTarget filed for an IPO in 2007, but withdrew its filing two years later and raised $145 million in funding instead. Before it was acquired by Salesforce in 2013, it acquired CoTweet, Pardot, iGoDigital, and Keymail Marketing.
ExactTarget was renamed to Salesforce Marketing Cloud in 2014 after the acquisition.
What is a business associate?
In a nutshell, the role of a business associate is to help covered entities comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
In the case of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, it would certainly qualify as a business associate if it provides services to covered entities.
Business associate agreement provisions
If a business associate provides services to a covered entity, then a business associate agreement (BAA) must be in place.
A BAA is a written contract between a covered entity and a business associate and is required by law for HIPAA compliance.
At a minimum, a BAA contains 10 provisions.
Read full article: Business Associate Agreement Provisions
Salesforce and the business associate agreement
We checked the Salesforce website for mention of a BAA for its Marketing Cloud solution.
We found the answer we were looking for on the Salesforce HIPAA Compliance page.
We see that Marketing Cloud, along with the following Salesforce solutions, are HIPAA compliant:
- Community Cloud
- Health Cloud
- Marketing Cloud – ExactTarget
- Other Lightning Platform Services
- Sales Cloud
- Service Cloud
HIPAA compliant email and Salesforce
Covered entities are required to take reasonable steps to protect PHI sent from email all the way to the recipient’s inbox. As such, HIPAA compliant email must be encrypted in-motion while being transmitted over the Internet.
It should be noted however, the scope of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud BAA protects and encrypts data only at-rest.
In other words, any email sent from Marketing Cloud is not covered by the Salesforce BAA.
Does Salesforce Marketing Cloud offer HIPAA compliant service?
The BAA is a key component to HIPAA compliance between a covered entity and a business associate.
We were able to learn that a BAA is offered by Salesforce for Marketing Cloud.
However, the Salesforce BAA does not include coverage sending PHI.
According to HIPAA, even just a name is PHI if it is in any way associated with a healthcare provider—such as in a marketing email coming from your practice.
Any marketing email you send contains both a name and an email address in the header, so really, you can’t send any emails via Salesforce Marketing Cloud in a HIPAA compliant manner.
HIPAA email marketing tools comparison
To meet the unmet need for HIPAA compliant email marketing, we created Paubox Marketing. It is the only solution that will:
- Sign a BAA
- Provide military-grade encryption
- Allow you to include PHI in your marketing emails
- Allow patients to read your emails directly from their inbox with no extra steps
In addition, Paubox Marketing is HITRUST CSF certified.
Compared to the standard marketing tools, Paubox Marketing is the best option for maintaining HIPAA compliance while harnessing the power of personalized email marketing.
|Company||Will they sign a BAA?||Can you send PHI?|
|Blue Orchid Marketing||NO||NO|
|Mad Mimi (GoDaddy)||NO||NO|
|Infusionsoft by Keap||YES||NO|
|Salesforce Marketing Cloud||YES||NO|
|Eloqua (Oracle)||YES||YES **|
(** To use Oracle Eloqua in a HIPAA compliant manner, recipients receive two emails for every message you send. Patients must also log into a secure message center to view your message—it does not appear in their inboxes. This creates friction and makes it less likely that your patients will read your marketing email.)